In addition to heading the Chicago Skyliners Big Band, Bill O'Connell has a record label which he uses not only for his own productions but from time to time to put to disc the offerings of local university jazz groups. This time he has captured two separate sessions by the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble. Under the leadership of Jazz Study Coordinator Bob Lark and a hefty faculty roster, this group offers an hour of challenging and exciting music. Perhaps not on the same level of experienced jazz professionals, but what it lacks in finesse (and it lacks little of that) it more than compensates for with enthusiasm. One advantage a university based jazz group has over a professional one is that there are not the same pressures to sell a lot of discs and make a lot of money. This allows for repertory which has room for off the beaten track material. It also allows for an outlet for aspiring student composers to learn their craft and to get their music heard. In this case, the program has three pieces by two of the performers, Vance Thompson and Doug Angelaccio.
There is a Stan Kenton influence apparent throughout. Even some of the soloists sound as if they had listened to some of those who occupied chairs in Kenton's heyday of the 1950's and 1960's. Close your eyes during David Bradley's trombone solo on "Shade Street" and aural visions of Frank Rosolino appear. These young people are well versed in the Bop style as evidenced by the Johnny Griffin-like Jason Rigby tenor and the Kai Winding sounding trombone of Steve Bradley on "Song for My Mother". Virtuoso playing on the difficult to keep in tune soprano sax by Jason Rigby on "From One Who Cares" is one of the highlights of the album. Leader Lark understands the need for a strong drummer to energize the other players. In this case Dana Hall is present on both sessions as he provides the fuel for the DePaul Ensemble musical rocket to soar to the heavens.
All in all Shade Street offers almost 60 minutes of outstanding big band music played by exemplary performers. Recommended.
Track Listing: Eleventh Hour; Shade Street*; From One Who Cares; Song for My Mother; First Steps; One for Monterey*; Grey Matter*; I Thought about You*
Personnel: Jon Irabagon, Aaron Irwin - Alto & Soprano Sax/Flute; Jason Rigby - Tenor & Soprano Sax; Rick Merrick - Tenor Sax & Flute; Craig Denny - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Jim Lathan, Steve Bradley, Drew Pekkarinen - Trombone; Grant Miazga - Bass Trombone; Jason Aspinwall, Marques Carroll, Kevin Tague, Ben Clark, Steve Thomas - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Dana Hall - Drums; Joel Root - Bass; Marcin Fahmy - Piano; Jon Lundbom - Guitar *Doug Angelaccio, Dave Hutten - Alto & Soprano Sax/Flute; Rob Denty - Tenor & Soprano Sax/Flute; Frank Catalano - Tenor & Soprano Sax; Matana Roberts - Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet; Troy Anderson, David Bradley, Steve Bradley - Trombone; Grant Miazga - Bass Trombone; Jason Aspinwall, Amir El Saffar, Ross Bergseth, Vance Thompson, Mike McMannis - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Dana Hall - Drums; Sharay Reed - Bass; Greg Smith - Piano; John Paris - Guitar
| Record Label: Blue Birdland Records
| Style: Big Band
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.